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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

on 14 July 2016
Anyone whom wants to know where they are heading financially and the pitfalls to avoid should read this book. It is very easy to read and contains many 'nuggets' you'll not get from your bank, life insurance/fund salesperson or stockbroker.
Unlike many journalists Carl is a Certified Financial Planner so has a degree in financial planning - the folks writing in the personal money pages online and in newspapers are rarely (it at all) as well qualified. His back of the napkin sketches in the NY Times are the stuff of legend - pictures paint 1,000 words.
As a CFP and lifestyle financial planner myself the only thing I disagreed with is where Carl seems to suggest that you should not do (and pay for) a proper financial plan - one with personal lifetime cash-flows including catastrophe scenarios etc - as the plan goes out of date the minute you print it off. The whole point of a financial plan is that it acts as a blueprint and should be reviewed at least annually as things change - life is not a straight line. It's important to check back to make sure you are still on track.
I'd suggest you need a proper financial planner (harder to find than you might think) to challenge your assumptions and make sure you keep to your plan - even (especially when) the markets have just tanked 30%. DIY investors rarely look themselves in the eye and state 'this too will pass'. They are more likely to panic out.
This is a great read. Even if you are not that money orientated.
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on 15 May 2017
Just had obvious information (buy stuff at a low price and sell it at a high price) that was pretty much all the information that the CD contained
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on 11 February 2013
I saw Carl give a lecture at a confrence recently and was captivated. He really nailed it with this book.

I work as a financial advisor and struggle with the fact that we can't control the equity markets, and the general advice for people without enough money is that they "need" to take on more risk to achieve their goals. But at the same time, these people can't really "afford" the risk that they need to take, and if things don't work out (or they give up on the plan when things don't go as expected, which is more likely) then they are in real trouble! I prefer to advocate lifesytyle planning, realistic expectations and increased savings if necessary. Reduce debt, control spending, get your home paid for (in most cases), and you can have a lot more confidence in achieving your goals than by taking on significant additional risk to (hopefully) have a higher return. In fact, this allows you to take on more risk because you can deal with it more easily if things don't go as planned.

This book covers complex concepts and makes them easy to understand, without dumbing it down. It also spends a lot of time on non-financial asepcts of investing. I highly recommend it, in fact I bought 20 copies to give to clients!
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on 4 January 2012
I have been following Carl on Twitter for a few years, and have read several of his blog posts during that time. I run a small financial planning firm in London and what he says resonates with me. So when I heard he was writing a book I was keen to get hold of a copy. I don't disagree with his central theme, and my reading in recent years has been around behavioral finance - for me this book doesn't add anything in that respect, however I didn't expect it to. I bought this book to discover whether it was something I could give to my clients and prospective clients, to help explain what I do and the way I do it - previously I have given copies of Lee Eisenberg's The Number: What Do You Need for the Rest of Your Life, and What Will It Cost? and it been well received.

'The Behavior Gap' (I've stuck with the US spelling) is a very easy read, and has an easy style - I'm a quick reader but was surprised to have finished it in about 2 hours - and I wasn't skimming or speed reading. It left me wanting something more. Specifically I wanted more depth and a nod to the academic research that supports his argument. The vignettes of conversations with clients are entertaining, but they merely provide evidence that the 'behavior gap' exists. Yes, I am sure there will be many readers who will identify with some of the scenarios and poor decision making (I did), but so what?

Being aware of something doesn't necessarily create a strong enough desire for change. For example, people have known for decades that smoking is bad for them, but reading about it doesn't really alter their behavior. I feel the same about this book - it talks about the problem, but doesn't really help people make behavioral changes. My concern is that most people who will pick it up, will read it, identify with it, put it down, and do nothing. Yes there are lists of things that someone could do, but no compelling call to action. Bringing about changes in behavior can be a time consuming process, and require some deeper psychological insights maybe.

So who is this book aimed at? Not me for sure, and not for the type of clients I deal with either. The clue might be where Carl describes having conversations with people around the water cooler at the office. He describes colleagues talking about how they buy and sell investments, and how they're driven by the noise from the markets and news wires. A book aimed more at the DIY investor perhaps. Clients working with advisers will more likely be influenced by what their adviser says, and this book will not convince a die-hard stock picking fund selecting adviser to change - particularly those who feel they have the Midas touch. It's just too light weight for them to take any notice.

If you've read my review this far you're probably thinking I'm negative about the book - I'm not - I'm ambivalent. It says what it wants to say, and says it well, but for me I wanted more substance. There are some real gems in the book, and Carl puts them across well. Several things that you might have heard before also pop up in a new guise - and it doesn't hurt to hear a good story told in a new and refreshing way.

Core to the book are Carl's drawings - some of them are really very good. The best ones managing to get a message across in a split second, though several of them leave me scratching my head. There are some clients I work with who would shudder at the sight of a sketch with an x and y axis - even those as simple as Carl's.

In summary, this book deserves an audience. It has something valuable to say, but it is only the beginning of a journey.
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on 11 October 2012
If you only ever read one finance book in your life do yourself a favour and make it 'The Behavior Gap' by Carl Richards.

As well as being an accomplished Financial Planner, Carl's clearly an expert in human behaviour. With numerous sketches and anecdotes, he cleverly highlights how we get in our own way by repeating irrational decisions when investing. More importantly, he tells what to do to break the cycle.

This book, more than almost any other, defines the role investing plays in helping us achieve our most important goals and ultimately live a more enjoyable life. Don't make the mistake of thinking it's just for the avid investor. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

At long last, we've got a book which offers straightforward advice on how to avoid the usual investment pitfalls, why we should ignore the investment media and how to apply simple, tried-and-tested principles to building long-term wealth.

It's a very enjoyable read, written in a witty, laid-back style. If you've got a weekend to spare get your hands on a copy. Provided you take on board Carl's lessons I predict you'll be a lot wiser and wealthier as a result. Happy investing.
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on 26 January 2012
Common sense is not as common as we would like it to be, so Carl Richard's book is refreshing because it is full of that rare stuff.

I enjoyed the book - to paraphrase the author it is simple but not easy. One can read it quite quickly, but if you do I suggest that you then read it again and think carefully about the points that are being made.

The book makes sensible suggestions in a way that is accesible to readers who are not financial professionals. Of course there are pithier tomes out there - but many of them are are nowhere near as engaging as this. I recommend this to anyone who is investing, or thinking about investing; it could save you a lot of money and heartache.
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on 2 March 2015
Simple concepts, that should be obvious but aren't until you read it. Should have read it when I was younger. Recommended!
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on 9 October 2012
As a financial planner I bought this book having seen Carl's drawings in the Internet. I have now read the book twice and have found it incredibly useful. I found myself nodding frequently and smiling whilst reading as I could see mine and my client's behaviour being described.
The book would be useful for both financial and non-financial orientated people as the basic premise is to focus on life first - a mantra we could all follow
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on 11 October 2012
I became aware of Carls work sometime ago and bought his book from him whilst he was presenting at a seminar in the UK, got a free doodle on the inside front page ;-)

I have to say the content of his book delivers refreshing clarity in a world of increasing complexity. A must read book for advisers and investors in general. Gonna stock a few in my practice.

keep it up Carl.
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on 28 February 2012
I must say I found this book very easy to read. It is not a step by step guide how to invest. But I am very glad that I took the time to read and take all the information in. As of writing this I have never invested in stocks or shares . If I had, I may have got into the buy high and sell low mistakes which Carl talks about in his book. After reading this book I will hopefully not make that mistake which many seem to do. There is some good advice on page 31 about paying off your credit card dept.

Chapter 3 has some great information on who you take investment advice from. Would you spend your life savings on articles from a blog, books, magazines, family, market gurus etc GURUS ARE RIGHT....UNTIL THEY'RE WRONG!!!! There is a great line at the end of chapter 3..".You're not warren Buffett. you're not even the next Warren Buffett. Fortunately, you don't have to be. You can be you" So we all have to be careful.

Chapter 9 of the books talks about our feeling with money. Do you feel guilty about spending money. Do you avoid talking about money. If you have money or not, this is a great chapter to read. You may learn a lot about yourself.

Carl's book made sense to me. I can see myself making correct decisions about money and investments. I think every one who has invested or like me is thinking about investing should read this book. Carl's insight and information may help you save and make some money. And that is what we all want!!
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